Showing Brand New Mamas Some LOVE

Two weekends ago, one of my best friends texted me on Saturday around noon to announce that her son had decided to enter the world a few weeks early. Then, that same night, one of Jason's best friends texted to tell us he and his wife were on the way to the hospital, also a few weeks early. And my mind was blown! So many miracles! So much to celebrate!

It hasn't even been a year, but I can just barely remember those first few weeks at home with Will, which is good, because what I do remember is that it was overwhelming and scary time for me. So whenever I know someone else is bringing their new baby home, all I want to do is surround them with encouragement and love. The number one way I try to do this is through prayer, and the second way is by giving them things. (In my opinion, presents are the best!) Whenever I was a new mom, our wonderful family and friends showed us love by bringing delicious meals and snacks for weeks. But I couldn't eat most of it because I was abstaining from dairy and soy because of Will's milks/soy protein allergy. And I've known other mamas who had to give up food like tomatoes, so even though my first inclination is always to make and bring food, I have tried to come up with ways to show my new mom friends some hospitality that involves something other than food.

1. If you live nearby and want to go all out, there is, of course, the Post-It Note Reception.

2. If you live far away, you can send books to the new family. Using Amazon, we just sent Dad is Fat, Baby 411, Not a Box, and Global Babies to Jason's good friends. For a personal touch, Amazon lets you right a note with each item. I addressed each note from William to the new baby with a funny message on how he could use the book.

3. If you are loaded, you could hire a night nanny for the family. If my mom hadn't spent the night with us a few times during that first week, I don't know if we'd all still be here. Also, that's what I would like with my next baby if you are taking notes.

4. If you are planning a visit, you can make up a hospitality basket. This combines food and drink with fun essentials for the new mom and family. See below for instructions.

Are you aware of hospitality baskets? People sometimes give them to guests when they arrive for destination weddings, or you can make one for a guest who is spending the weekend at your home. They usually include anything a guest might need as well as some fun/local items to welcome them for whatever their event might be. Fun, right? I can't think of anyone who deserves a hospitality basket more than a new mom. All you need is a basket, some post-its (because the notes of encouragement are probably the most important part), and your items, and you are good to go. See below for some ideas on items to include in a hospitality basket for your favorite new mama.

Food: Easy snacks for eating while nursing (because she will pretty much always be nursing), beer for a boost in milk production or for the papas if she'd prefer to abstain, steel cut oatmeal with flax seed for a quick snack and boost in milk production. (I lived on oatmeal and fruit for weeks as it was one easy meal that was both dairy and soy free.) Also, any of her favorite food items will be appreciated. My sister got me Fruit Roll-Ups!

Gift Cards: To local restaurants that deliver or have carry-out, for books, apps, and music. Also, a gift card to her favorite clothing store would be fun. Tell her to buy some postpartum clothes in her current size for an easier transition back to her normal size, or you can include some easy clothing items in the basket too...

Clothing: You are probably pretty close if you are making this hospitality basket, so you might feel comfortable buying your new mama clothes. (I think figuring out what to wear was one of the most annoying things postpartum.) I included yoga pants (my favorite postpartum clothing item), a loose-fitting tank top, and a button-up dress (easy for nursing) that she could throw a cardigan or jacket over. Also, if you don't feel comfortable buying clothing, slippers and/or a robe are always great.

Essential Items for a Nursing Station: Along with her lanolin and water, gel pads, lip balm, gum, and face wipes will be appreciated to keep her taken care of during the hours and hours of nursing/pumping. Also, magazines, books, or even a subscription to Netflix can make nursing/pumping more enjoyable.
Also, as I mentioned before, notes will be greatly appreciated. So even if you don't have the time or the resources to make up a basket, checking in on her with encouragement and funny notes will always be appreciated.
Top Picture: Will at five days old... always tired, NEVER sleeping.

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